By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Three days before the International Human Rights Day, a military officer known for gross human rights abuses was named Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año to the highest military post this morning, replacing Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya who retires tomorrow. Año leaves his post as Philippine Army chief, to which he was appointed by former President Aquino in 2015.
Human Rights groups tagged Año in the 2007 enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of press freedom icon Joe Burgos. Año also headed the 10th infantry division which was implicated in the massacre in Paquibato where three indigenous peoples were killed in June 2015.
JL Burgos, younger brother of Jonas, vented out his anger in social media. He wrote on Facebook, “Change is coming! Mabuhay ang dumukot kay Jonas! P@*! na sistema ito kung san ang mamamatay tao at mandurukot pinaparangalan!” (Hail to the abductor of Jonas. F!@# this system which rewards killers and abductors.)
JL said it is always difficult and painful for families of the missing to receive news like this.
Asked for reaction, JL’s mother Edita Burgos sent a text message to Bulatlat, “Nakakatakot.” (This is frightening.)
Lorena Santos, secretary general of the group Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) described the news as “nauseating.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights alliance Karapatan, said the appointment of Año as AFP Chief of Staff proves that “fascism is deeply entrenched in state machinery.”
Konti na lang, magiging anti-Duterte na ako. Hindi rin pala nag-iisip tong si Digong.